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War: What is it good for?

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The following letter from Paul Goldberg of Arlington was first published in The New York Times on June 10 and is republished with the author's permission. The letter refers to the May 26 guest essay by Phil Klay headlined “How Should We Honor the Dead of Our Failed Wars?

Mr. Klay’s moving piece, with its focus on Iraq and Afghanistan, stirred up my always close-to-the-surface emotions about my generation’s catastrophic war, Vietnam.

While I was a young adult in the 1960s, the horror and moral bankruptcy of Vietnam, brought home graphically by daily TV video and news, were magnified by my own fears that I would be drafted and dragged into the killing. Turning thoughts of the war over in my mind, talking to friends and family and reading about nonviolent social movements led me to become a conscientious objector.

I am continually astounded that our species, which is so brilliant scientifically and technologically, has not figured out a way to sublimate our aggressive and greedy impulses and address our fears and differences in a more just, humane and respectful way — instead of killing one another. 


This letter was republished June 11, 2024.

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Wednesday, 24 July 2024

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